I love sewing these 18th-century English dresses! Round gown type, they come in one piece and, therefore, are so natural to wear. The model was all the rage in the 1770s, but I find it oddly quite fashionable today.
Moreover, I adore this silhouette shaped by 18th-century undergarments. It's so feminine, but curiously these garment foundations don't limit movement. I took a walk this morning in the fields near the river, wearing this chintz cotton model, the last of my Louise d'Épinay collection. And it felt so natural!
The English round dress: a dress for active women from the 18th-century
I based the pattern of the Louise d'Épinay dress on models from the 1770s. Unlike the archetypal French rococo dresses, the English gowns of the 1770s were much more straightforward. A simple bustle pad replaces the imposing paniers. The skirt is shorter and lets us see the ankles: a novelty that facilitates long walks in the countryside!
But this facility of movement is not limited to walking. The English dress is the preferred model of women wishing to assume a much more active role in these societies of the late 18th-century. Simplicity is also a way of telling the world that we care about much more important things than the frivolity of fashion!
A new 18th-century dress for the Louise d'Épinay collection
The truth is that this pattern is one of my favorites. I made it in linen in several colors: purple, ocean blue, almond green, mango, and white. I also made it in burgundy silk taffeta. But I missed the beautiful cotton chintz in this collection. Now it's done!
A perfect dress for a walk in the country
On this morning of June 16, 2021, the weather was beautiful in La Pobleta de Bellvehí, the small village in the Catalan mountains where I have set up my workshop, Atelier Serraspina. It was even sweltering this morning, a little too hot for the season.
Still, the weather was perfect for a walk. So I took the path out of the small village and down to the river below. This path is charming. It is bordered at the beginning by vegetable gardens whose old wooden doors remain closed at such an early hour. But I could hear the ducks and geese already quacking as I walked.
Once past the vegetable gardens, the view opens on vast pastures with the Pyrenees mountains in the North. No cows or horses in these fields. The breeders have taken them to graze in the mountains during the transhumance. The fields are empty, except for the oak and walnut trees.
A magical landscape where you can hear the sound of the river below. A landscape of a magnificent green, punctuated by the flowers in pots that the inhabitants of La Pobleta lovingly cultivate in their balconies. These flowers remind me of the flowers of the glorious Coton Dutch Heritage of my dress.